Today's news

March 24, 2005

MPs urge greater independence for research councils
The research councils, which fund scientific work in universities across the UK, should assert their independence from government in setting their priorities, MPs said today. The Commons science and technology committee wants to see Research Councils UK, the umbrella body that coordinates the seven research councils, given greater authority and freedom from government interference.
The Guardian

Monkey research to face inquiry
Scientists have called on anti-vivisectionists to discuss their concerns about research on monkeys as part of a new study by four of the UK's leading science bodies. Sir David Weatherall, who will chair the inquiry into the value of using non-human primates in research, said he wanted a wide range of opinions. "We will certainly ask for evidence from the avowed opponents and I see no reason why we shouldn't meet them and have a debate," he said yesterday.
The Guardian, The Financial Times

Welsh university heads voice concerns over funding
Welsh universities and colleges will receive grants totalling £328 million for the next academic year - an average increase of 4.95 per cent - the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales announced today. The news was welcomed by university heads, but they expressed concern that Welsh institutions will fall behind England unless increased tuition fees are introduced next year. "If institutions are to retain staff and offer the high quality of education currently delivered we will need to see if the fee settlement is in line with that awarded in England," said Higher Education Wales, which represents the vice-chancellors.
The Guardian, The Times Higher Education Supplement March 25

Dolly the Sheep scientist joins centre at Edinburgh university
The lead scientist behind the cloning of Dolly the Sheep has joined a research centre at Edinburgh University. Professor Ian Wilmut will be based in the university’s £49 million Research Institute for Medical Cell Biology next to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Prof Wilmut, who led the Dolly team at the Roslin Institute, will investigate human diseases such as diabetes.
The Scotsman

Learning the overseas way
They are pressured to bring in rising levels of revenue, they are constantly innovating to increase their global market share and they compete fiercely to market their products in carefully identified growth markets. These days the overseas operations of Scotland’s higher education institutes only differ from other service providers in that they measure success not in cash but in institutional prestige, lucrative research grants and a sense of doing their bit to spread the "soft power" of Scotland abroad.
The Scotsman

Experience just takes too long
In today’s world the consumer is king, and business education is no exception. In the past, wannabe CEOs studied for an MBA after several years’ work experience. But for those in a hurry, pre-experience or “young masters” degrees are increasingly popular. After a first degree, pre-experience masters come in two flavours: specialist masters focus on specific management functions, such as finance or HR; while generalist masters offer graduates with a non-management-related first degree a broad business overview.
The Times

University investigates blaze at historic Old College
Edinburgh University chiefs today launched an investigation into the cause of a fire which started at its historic Old College building. The fire broke out in a paper store outside the building, and firefighters had to use breathing gear to tackle the flames. While the fire did not spread to the main building it is thought there was some minor smoke damage to interior of the Old College. Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade was called at 7.24am yesterday and quickly controlled the fire.
The Scotsman

Getting a better deal by going abroad
In a competitive world, education is perceived as the way to success. To give children a head start and get them into world-class universities, many parents, especially those from Asia and Europe, are sending their children to boarding schools in English-speaking countries. Despite their reputation for excellence, with top schools in Britain averaging between £18-21,000 per year, more parents are looking elsewhere.
The Daily Telegraph

Former Nasa scientist takes over at Bournemouth
Bournemouth University has announced that its new vice-chancellor is to be Paul Curran, the current deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Southampton. Prof Curran, 49, succeeds Gillian Slater, who announced her retirement earlier this year. He will take up the post in September.
The Guardian

Glasgow wins top HE energy award
The University of Glasgow was yesterday named the most energy efficient higher education institution in Britain. Leeds Metropolitan, Newcastle, Sheffield and Southampton universities came first in other categories, ranging from transport to water efficiency, in the Green Gown awards announced at the University of Surrey last night. The university sector collectively spends £200 million on its energy requirements and the funding council, Hefce, has stipulated that universities need to address their energy consumption in a bid to become more "green".
The Guardian

Good news for 6 st weaklings
Men who spend hours in the gym trying to perfect a rippling six-pack, bulging biceps and well-honed pectorals to attract the opposite sex may be wasting their time, a new study suggests. The research claims to show that the female ideal of the male body shape is more slender than men think.
The Daily Telegraph

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